Enjoy what is

Decreasing stress is one of the components of the Dr. Wahls Protocol. Stress is known to be a catalyst for illness. My own experience proves that. I was under a great deal of duress building up to becoming sick. Life happens, sometimes it isn’t pleasant. I’m stating the obvious, but its important to look at the truth of that. I have learned over the years due to a different illness I have that relies on the practice of gratitude to stay in remission, how to live in the moment, to look at my part in relationships and mistakes, to do spot check inventories, to make gratitude lists and to enjoy what is. Like anything these habits require a commitment and daily practice. I have had years of successfully applying these practices to my life and I’ve had times when I let them go and let old negative habits creep back in to the detriment of my serenity.  It was during those times that I got sick and running scared, made bad decisions that made the situation ten times worse then it had to be.

How to practice serenity is to be grateful for everything. To remind myself to live in the moment. I like these statements, “God will only give you what you can handle in one day.” and “I have all the money I need provided I die at 12 midnight tonight.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t plan for this or that. It means, I make the appointment, research the information, jot down the idea, then let it go, putting it out of my mind till its time to deal with it. This takes practice and is sometimes easier said then done. However, like anything, practice makes it easier to do, then the rewards flood in from the practice.

Sometimes to get down to a free flowing serene state, I must look at unpleasant truths about myself, especially if the same set of calamities or repeated mistakes happen over and over again. That’s usually a sure fire sign that the fault is mine. Somewhere, there are deep rooted issues that must be unearthed, amends made, myself and others to be forgiven and then, if the work is earnest and sincere then peace for this situation or relationship happens. Other people are usually necessary to help with this, such as support groups, advisers, counseling, religious practices for some people, etc. Food for thought, the smartest and most powerful people on Earth have advisers, the more responsibility they have the more advisers they have. It is, paradoxically, not a sign of weakness, but of strength to seek advice and assistance.

Meditation is the practice of being in the moment. To be aware of all five senses, to quiet the mind, concentrate on breathing, build a deeper communion with a Higher Power if one so chooses, or to feel a deeper connection with the Earth with sounds of nature and thoughts of ancient trees and pathways thru the woods or how the Earth feels on your hands when you plant something. We can do quick, in the moment meditations with everyday mundane activities, like concentrating on the warm sensation of sudsy water as I clean the plate, listening for the sound of clacking silverware when I drag the bottom of the sink for silverware to clean. Or we can do long prepared meditations. Set the scene, a favorite spot in our home that we create the space for. Burn incense maybe, light candles, play serene music or sounds (I like the ocean) or listen to a guided meditation. Exercise and jewelry making are both deep sources of meditation for me. I am completely focused when I create, colors, sewing, the feel of beads in my hands, or exercise, I’m off in my own world. When exercising, I am completely riveted on the teacher, the movement I’m doing, the feel of the water, the weights in my hands, the flexing of the targeted muscles, my breathing. When I do these things, I am not thinking about the bills I need to pay in two weeks, or the appointments I have tomorrow or even in two hours, I am completely in the moment. This is one of the reasons I love doing these two activities. Anxiety, fear of the unknown, causes the body to do certain things, increases heart rate, gasping for breath, racing thoughts of fears and over dwelling on negatives. Meditation is the practice of clearing the mind, deep thoughtful breathing, bringing one’s thinking back to the present moment and the realization that one is safe in that moment. Many fears are of bogeymen that are not happening right now and in most cases may never happen. And if there is a difficult loss occurring, job, family, health, then the practice of these above can make them easier to handle, more manageable by making it possible to take the situation(s) piece meal.

To enjoy what is are all these practices, that is the goal for me. That and humor. A sense of humor can cut stress in half and help keep a heart light. There is always two ways to look at any situation. Most of the time there is something good to consider even when it feels unfair. Here’s a silly joke:

Four men from Boston meet every Sunday to play cards. Clancy, Taylor, John and Ian have known each other for decades. John is the upbeat positive chap in the group. No matter what anyone says he always answers, “It could be worse.” This always rubs Clancy the wrong way. One Sunday, only Clancy, John and Ian show up. Ian, visibly upset, breaks the news to Clancy and John that Taylor is in jail after coming home Saturday night and finding his wife in bed with another man, he shot and killed them both. To which, John says, “It could be worse.” Clancy yells back, “That’s the last straw! You drive me nuts, how could it be worse John, two people are dead and our good friend is in jail, how could it be worse, you tell me that?!” John replied, “It could be worse because he could’ve come home on Friday when I was there.”

It could be worse.

 

Bonne Sante

A puzzle worth solving

It can be very complex being your own doctor. No longer do I blindly give over my life to the medical system while I take no part in learning how my body works.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been my own advocate since 2004 from the first time I fought that statement, “Its stress.” To the final time, this past winter, a MRI, once again, gave proof that it wasn’t just “stress”. Though I’ve said repeatedly how I wished it was just that. Of course, paradoxically, stress is a big contributor to disease. My worse physical attacks have been while under extreme duress. The difference I speak of here, is where my answers are coming from, namely other sciences and unconventional doctors. So, in a way, still from Doctors just not the normal route. These Doctors require, so that I can be most successful, that I know my body and the sciences that govern it of nutrition and environment.

I’ve followed the Wahls Protocol as closely as I can for it is very precise and extremely detailed. There is volumes to learn. I don’t want that to sound discouraging, it required that I put the same amount of energy that I had put into living disabled into a changed mindset of getting well. I just needed a route that could be effective. And this was it. No longer hopeless, I had hope. No longer did I have to sit idly by and be a victim. I could actually do something about this and not wait for the day I would be bedridden. As I follow this, there is always something else to work on. For example, I’m still largely adjusting to living on a Nutritious Ketosis diet. The most recent issue, which I’ve blogged about as it was ongoing, was feelings of depression and overwhelming sleepiness. After a couple weeks of this, I finally found an article which I gave a link to on that particular day on my blog. The answer was that I wasn’t eating enough fat for my body’s energy needs on the Ketosis diet and I wasn’t eating enough protein, the bare minimum was all I was having. Since increasing both, my energy is increasing, my depression has dissipated and the sleepiness has completely lifted. So, that was it. It required me to do research, find what I was missing nutritionally, thanks to Dr. Wahls and my willingness to learn forming a base knowledge of Ketosis from which to start from, having read Wahls book several times, articles on the net, other’s experiences on the Wahls Facebook group, I found my answer.

At present, I am working on figuring out why I am losing so much hair. I have thick hair and woe to the person who lives with me, they gotta deal with that too. I’ve always lost a lot of hair and incredibly, my hair remains thick. But, this, is too much and unusual, and coming right from the roots. My intuition says it is the Ketosis diet, I am lax on a few things as I had mentioned in a previous blog, one of which is bone broth, another seaweed and still another organ meat. I feel the answer probably lies with one of these, or a supplement I need to take, like Q10. I will research what could cause hair loss nutritionally, then go from there. No longer is it a call to the Doctor, or just do nothing at all. I am my own Doctor and I am responsible to find the answers. The good news? The answers are out there! If its there, being the tenacious sort that I am, I’ll find it.

I do crosswords daily. Its one of my cognitive exercises and something I enjoy doing. I was intimidated by crosswords for years, I’d try one every now and then, and unless it was super easy, I’d give up after a minute or two. See, on a harder puzzle, I would suspect the answer, but have no confidence in my choice, then give up. Until I lived with a friend for two years who is an avid crossword enthusiast. You know the type, does the Sunday New York Times puzzle, one of the those. I started doing some of the medium puzzles lying around the house in books that had the answers in the back, and I began to realize that those answers I suspected, were nine out of ten times correct, but weren’t proven yet by the “crossword”. I changed my attitude. I filled in the word with what I felt was probably it even if I couldn’t prove it yet, and I began solving crossword puzzles. I’m still not great, but I do the medium ones with ease now and can do half of some hard ones.

This is like that, trust your intelligence, trust your intuition, do the foot work and you’ll reap the rewards. You just have to want it bad enough.

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude

the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
                                                                                                                                      Dictionary.com

Besides Multiple Sclerosis, I am an alcoholic, sober 26 years. Two things keep a soul sick, one of which is self pity, the other is resentment, really one interplay’s with the other. Both self pity and resentment had to go if I wanted to live sober successfully and equally, they must go to successfully adapt to the Wahls Protocol lifestyle. If I practice gratitude, I don’t feel sorry for myself and if I don’t feel sorry for myself than I am not resentful over what others have or don’t have. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have this mastered, that would make me a saint, a saint I am not. However, I do have a lot of practice applying the principle of “active” gratitude.

When I am feeling low, as I have this past week. I get out of it by finding a way to be of service. Even if its simply noticing and complimenting someone’s new hair cut. Its a simple thing that can make someone’s day. Or avail myself by answering if someone calls or call someone, just because. I can’t complain about being lonely, but do nothing to improve my situation and go out of my way to be a part of something. These acts take me out of my tendency for self absorbed reflection, which sometimes is necessary for change, however, to be constructive, the self reflection has to then progress to an action or it becomes morose. Yesterday, I said that I would do housework, I did my laundry, not a biggie, yet it left them clean and fresh. I made a point of getting out early this morning to a support group that I frequent at 7 am. A positive power hour of which I showed my support by being present and vocal when asked. After, in my neighborhood, I walked a lot and was shocked to find that I had another leap forward in my walking ability. My speed has picked up, my walking surer. Falling is not an issue anymore, if my toe does catch, it doesn’t spell out a fall as it once always did, hence the former need for a cane. Morose feelings that I’ve had as of late, can stop me from experiencing what I experienced today. By, staying home, feeling bad, feeling hopeless instead of hopeful, I wouldn’t have realized that this had happened. Funny thing, all that gratitude put a big smile on my face and a skip in my step that people were responding to. I was nicer, I was fully engaged in my surroundings and the people in it and I was patient. I chose to be grateful. Music and dance is a way that I treat myself to the expression of gratitude. I listened to Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation’s album Mighty ReArranger. I forgot how good that album is and was filled with joyous dance.

I’m so grateful for the Dr. Wahls Protocol, I want to carry a message about it, to be a part of getting this information out to as many people as possible so that they can at least consider it. I hope to show them how it works with my own example. The damage and calamity I could’ve avoided had I known that certain foods taken in or excluded, and that a lifestyle could make an impact like this on an otherwise hopeless illness. Here is where I can’t rue the past. What is is. Instead, I’m grateful I have the opportunity now. When I feel sorry for myself that I can’t have birthday cake or pasta, I ask myself, do I want pasta or do I want to walk? When I put it that way, well, its obvious what I want. Action!

Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Depression

Depression is something that effects me from time to time. It has been a life time issue, some for situational reasons and other because I have a depressive personality. I have learned to be upbeat most of the time, however, depression can still creep in. Over the years, I’ve learned to deal with low moods with exercise, practicing gratitude, talking about it or about the issues at the root of it, situational or otherwise, and I have a Higher Power that I rely on for strength and guidance. Interesting is Dr. Cicero Coimbra’s theory that problems with depression can be a sign of a compromised immune system. I have to agree with him, because the other symptoms he indicated were equally true in my case. Dr. Coimbra is a neurologist from Brazil who treats MS successfully using high doses of Vitamin D that must be supervised under a Coimbra Protocol trained health professional. This is the document I learned of his theory that has the symptoms indicative of a compromised immune system: http://www.thisisms.com/forum/coimbra-high-dose-vitamin-d-protocol-f57/topic27182.html

Most of the time I am a good housekeeper. I was not raised that way, I learned in adulthood. When things get busy and my energy must go into a different direction, the housework takes a hit. When this happens, I don’t want to be home. I stay organized, but washing windows, dusting and heavy cleaning jobs don’t happen. This might sound ridiculous, but I had to follow the directions in a book to learn to clean my home. I couldn’t get a handle on it till I read this in 1993: Sidetracked Home Executives from pigpen to paradise  This book was written by two women who had the same problem and came up with an efficient, time minimizing plan to keep a home orderly that included a daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual and annual schedule using a file system. It took me three years off and on, but I learned. I get “sidetracked” when I forgo this, then I forgo that, before I know it, I’m out of some of the very good habits I forged with this book. A clean house makes me feel energized, it too is one of those paradoxes, I’m tired, but exercise makes me feel energized, I’m tired and uninterested, but cleaning my house makes me feel energized and interested in my abode. Now obviously, this makes a difference on what one can do based on their level of disability. That’s a whole other issue. I’m speaking of this from the standpoint of depression. For me, a clean house can pull me out of the dregs of a low mood. It is the combination of it all, talking, exercising, practicing gratitude, keeping my home clean, fresh and organized and asking God for help with all of the above.

I think tomorrow I’ll talk about “practicing gratitude”, why do I say it that way, why not just say “gratitude”? There is a reason for that. There, all this talking (friends and the blog), I feel better already! Tomorrow, I will tackle housework!

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Milestones, milestones, and more milestones!

I didn’t do too bad today. I did go exercise this morning and was full of energy this. This afternoon, I got very tired, but a nap fixed that. I got a lot of errands done through the late afternoon and early evening. Now I’m here. I am going on a brief trip to an assembly for two nights and three days. It is not far from here, so not an arduous trip and the hotel has a very nice pool, so I packed my bathing suit. I swim four days a week, but haven’t in the last two weeks due to doctors orders for my healing carpal tunnel surgery hand. Waiting time’s up, this is perfect timing. I go very early and will do the same at the hotel.

This event I am attending is another milestone for me. This is a non profit that in the past I had participated in service for for years at the state/provincial level. Till the big attack in 2008/9 put me out of commission. I had served as alternate chairperson for a local district and then was voted in as Chairperson after one year of alternate. Just three months into my two year term, I got too sick to serve and left the district in a lurch. I have not attended any of these type of meetings since. This is the first. I feel well enough to go and even have a little job singing. I can’t sing to save my life, but I will be half speaking the words. Speech, I can do. I didn’t agree to it, I was thrown into it, that is what happens at this level of service. Which is why I have stayed away entirely. I am very excited to go.

I read Web MD’s description of the Wahls Protocol, yes they actually have a page for this, I was surprised to see it. It is very short and has some minor misunderstandings and one big one. It speaks of the fact that there is not enough research to support whether it works or not, that’s true and not true. However, there are a lot of walking testimonies, myself included and research is well on its way, even as we speak. That didn’t bother me. One thing did bother me and that was the assumption that Dr. Wahls’ healing could solely be coming from the e-stim and exercise portions of the Protocol. Anyone who really knows me, knows that I love exercise and always do some form of it, even at my sickest, I find a way. Exercise can’t do this healing alone. It helped my mood which assisted in keeping me out of depression and it helped me not fall as much giving me stronger muscles to catch me. But, it doesn’t do what THIS does. Lots of people get MS, that includes athletes. Dr. Terry Wahls was an athlete, Karate. Karate couldn’t stop MS from decimating her body. If the many drugs out there which do nothing for this illness were producing the results that this is, that I am experiencing right now, we’d be hearing about it in every news stream imaginable. This is a holistic method that has pleasant side effects like healthy weight loss, clear skin, brings back youth to a certain degree, packs an energy pick up wallop, and on and on.

I had a close friend who had advanced MS when I knew her from 1992 to 1996 (her death). She was young, diagnosed with Progressive MS at age 18, when I met her she was 26. Within the first year of my knowing her, she lost primary care of her three year old son and then lost her licence to drive after a car accident due to her disabilities. Before I met her, her husband left her for an employee of his. Not because he didn’t love her, they were young and her illness was just too hard for him to deal with. She was a tiny girl, very beautiful and athletic. She worked out at the gym five days a week and had better muscle tone then I did (I worked out too). Didn’t stop MS. I remember her hope when news came about the first drug ever that could slow the progression of MS and then her disappointment when she was told the drug couldn’t help her because she had Progressive MS. Dr. Swank published his results of a 34 year study that showed those that followed the diet lived a longer, normal and healthier life then those that stopped following the diet. In fact, some of Swanks original participants are well into their 80’s and 90’s today, still on the diet. Ironically, his results were published around the same time the first MS drug (Copaxone) came out to great applaud. She never heard a word about Dr. Swanks work.

This is to be continued tomorrow. I have a lot more I want to say on this subject.

 

Bonne Sante

 

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May the force be with you

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

– Yoda

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

– Yoda

 

I have a universal belief system. I believe that what you think, you become. I think of it as a law of the universe, a science law, akin to the law of gravity. To hate anyone, is to be filled with hate. It is not your fault when something is terribly abusive and against your will or if one is naively hurt when unprotected as a child. What becomes my fault is to relive it over and over again long after it is over, till it consumes my every waking moment. That is a definition of the word resentment. These days, now that I understand what my true enemy is, resentment, I will not give myself the luxury, if you can call it that, of resentment or even justified anger which can also cause soul rot. I’ll clarify, I have thoughts, moments, but I get rid of it as soon as I can, by talking, by praying, by getting to the bottom of things if that is necessary. Nothing is worth the loss of my sense of peace. The truth is in the fall out, either way. Negativity attracts negativity, “misery loves company” right? With the constant, “not good enough”, “not smart enough”, “not worthy enough”, etc. I invariably become what I am thinking, I won’t go after better for myself, because it is a big ego to think that I can attain that, or who do I think I am? I see myself as alone, I’ll be alone, I see my self as sick, I’ll stay sick, I see my self as poor, I’ll stay poor. On the other hand, positive attracts positive. I feel love for everyone, not always like, that’s a different thing, you can love, but not like. Very rare if I do meet a person I don’t like these days, but I try very hard to love everyone I meet, to smile, to give a complement. I want to be the person that people are happy to see, because that person has that genuine ease and warmth about them that makes you content and gets you smiling. We’ve all known people like this. That’s my goal everyday. I want to be that person.

Today, I exercised. They unlock the gate to the pool area at 7:30 am. We wait at the gate because the deep water aerobics class begins at the same time. I just began swimming in the other pool on my own and when I am there, just twice now, I swam without the flotation belt. I am an avid swimmer, I’ve spent most of my life with a love of swimming. Most mother’s favorite picture is of the baby taking its first steps, my mother, it was the first time I put my head underwater. She filmed it, I was three. I haven’t been able to swim laps in eight years at least. I have been taking deep water aerobics for three years now. I upped my schedule from two days a week to four days a week after starting the Wahls Protocol. A woman who always swims in the other pool, not the class, said to me this morning, referring to my swimming without the belt, “It must be amazing to swim like you do, your swimming is so strong and to have all that stamina.” I’ll remind you, five months ago, I couldn’t stand at the sink for longer than five minutes without the need to sit down. I could barely climb two ladder rungs out of the pool where the aerobics I take are. The other pool has around eight steps above the water to climb out. And I am doing it deftly.

I heard recently that when you put a consistent idea out to the universe that the universe will get out of your way like water. I’ve been approved for an electrical stimulation device and starter rehab for it. I’ve spoken to a couple physical therapy places, neither of which gave me much confidence of their knowledge of e-stim and neurological damage. Today, I had my ride home from the gym via Access Calgary, I still need this service, because my leg still fatigues after working it, I mostly use Access for the gym. On the way home, they stopped to pick someone up. The place we stopped at was titled, “Spinal Injury and Neurological Rehabilitation”. I was excited, the driver said it was new and she said, “We have to wait 20 minutes because we’re early, you can go in and talk to them.” That never happens, they’re usually on schedule. I learned that they accept my disability insurance with a work order, no problem, I’m approved. And, when I mentioned e-stim, I didn’t have to explain, she added, that’s what we do here. I took a business card and noticed a card with a nutritionist. I asked her, “Have you heard of the Wahls Protocol?” She said, “Yes, our nutritionist uses that.” That’s what this place has, rehabilitation specialists and a nutritionist on board. They should be sending everyone with MS to this place.

Wouldn’t it be something if after diagnosis, they send you to the nutritionist to help you get started on the new regime, they pay for classes to teach and reinforce the same. They give you the book you’ll need to follow, if you’re impoverished, they give you assistance to buy the healthy supplements and foods you need, they get you started with neurological rehabilitation sessions on a regular basis. Without the thousands spent on the drug that does nothing for you, they could spend those thousands on this instead, which actually helps people get their lives back. So, if all of us who are healing this way think this, it will manafest!

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

– Thomas Edison

“For every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect.”

– Dr. Carl C. Pfeiffer

 

Bonne Sante

Reflection

Having a downer today. A little depressed. Cried a little, that helped. My sadness has nothing to do with Dr. Wahls diet, but I did say that I would document my moods as well as my progress or set backs. Difficult moods can effect a course of action for the betterment of self like the Dr. Wahls Protocol or any other self improvement like quitting smoking or drinking. How do I deal with this? I’ve practiced working through difficult emotions for years now and won’t stay in this for long because of that. First off, talk about it. I am starting here and have mentioned it to friends. Second, do something, depression thrives on inactivity, TV binge watching, over sleeping, over eating, not eating. I indulged this sad feeling for about four hours this afternoon, that’s enough. Now I’m doing something, nothing better than journaling, another way to get it out. Thirdly, I use a Higher Power and ask for assistance, it helps me feel that I am never truly alone, a good feeling. Fourth, pinpoint what it is that is actually making me sad. In this case, its a case of loneliness enhanced by projection of that getting worse (which is not the reality). Depression has a way of making the source of the unhappiness magnified to a bigger thing then it may be. Fifth, acceptance of the situation, lack or hindrance that I perceive it to be, for the moment, as insurmountable, devastating, or unacceptable to me. In short:

  • Talk and write
  • Do something productive
  • Ask for help
  • Analyze what is under the feeling
  • Acceptance
  • Right size the facts to what they are in only the moment (day) I am in
  • Make a gratitude list

This is mine:

I’m relatively healthy despite having two neurological conditions. I have hope because of the healing that I am receiving from the Wahls Protocol. I live alone, but I am not alone. I have two children who love and care about me. They stay in touch despite their very busy lives. I belong to and am involved in a fellowship which actively helps others. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, healthy food to eat and all my bills are paid. I have a little debt, something in this culture that could be infinitely worse than what I have. I like this quote, “I have all the money I need provided I die at 12 midnight tonight”. I have a cat who greets me at the door like a dog and is a good companion. I mean, come’on, this is not a life to be depressed about. Tomorrow I will exercise and when I do, I am going to feel like a million bucks, I always do.

Tomorrow, I will talk about how I got kicked out of Ketosis testing the limits. Therefore, I am done testing limits.

 

Bonne Sante

That includes your mental health too

 

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